All organizers of Occupy Oakland should be proud of our dynamic actions on November 2nd, November 19th, and December 12th. For the time being, we must shift our political time clock, stop rushing from action to action in emergency mode and build a long-term movement. A long-term movement includes digging deeper and deeper roots within the Black and Brown communities, structurally important workplaces, while also maintaining the radical imagination and democratic spirit of the movement. In short, there needs to be a shift from mass mobilizations to consistent and long-term organizing.
This movement has demonstrated itself to be stronger than any one left organization or union. Learning how to work with people from all different political backgrounds is key, in order that the tentacles of the movement can reach farther than any singular force. But we mustn’t spread our tentacles too thin; mobilizing hundreds and thousands of people can reach its limits. Only when we mobilize and organize in working class communities and workplaces can we begin to challenge the contradictions facing Occupy Oakland. This mobilization takes the form of coordinated short-term tactical actions along with long-term class struggle which can begin to brake-down the division between port workers and our social movement.
Attempting to coordinate short-term protests and long-term class struggle through coalitions often lead to an array of problems that lacks a unified political strategy for such a project. Social movements without a revolutionary perspective often fragment into informal gossip ridden circles that don’t see the importance of pushing for the working class to become a class-for-itself, creating a class-wide offensive against capitalism.
Creating long-term class struggle with short-term tactical operations is not easy. There are many challenges: the surplus population section of the proletariat engages in destructive activity; the unemployed need new forms of organization; non-union workers need alternative forms of struggle against workplace austerity and discipline, which a front of the IWW has been doing impressive work on; unionized rank-file members need to challenge the bureaucracy of unions that we saw heavily lash out against December 12th… and the list continues.
So the question now is, what is on the horizon for the Occupy movement for the next 6 months? Can organizers of all walks of political life unite on a common perspective of organizing for a class-wide offensive? All types of people are engaged-in this movement, and are attempting to understand the power of this movement to move forward in its radical potential. On the one hand, the plurality of the movement gives it diversity and creativity. On the other, without a clear revolutionary strategy of how to successfully fight the one percent makes our movement lack a direction. We don’t want to eliminate any creative diversity of the movement, nor have the movement run into destructive walls. Such a balancing act requires both a patience and foresight: to listen and learn, agitate and propose solutions. The possibility for change and momentum has brought so many people together, bringing out a potential force to organize for revolutionary ends. This can happen if enough organizers within the movement can agree for which such a revolutionary framework is worth fighting.
The Occupy movement has become one of the greatest learning lessons for a new young radical generation and has produced and brought to life hundreds of radical fighters who organize non-stop- often selflessly- often operating off vices and meager sustenance, as well as the flavor of revolutionary potential. Such people are the human material for a new revolutionary movement to build a new society based on use, not profitable exchange.